Cubs Ownership Change: My Money’s on Colangelo

jerrycolangelo.jpgThe talk around Chicago for the past week has been the sale of the Tribune Company to Sam Zell and the swift decision to put the Chicago Cubs up for sale. Zell is part owner of the Chicago White Sox (inside Managing Partner Jerry Reinsdorf's group) and MLB rightly prohibits an individual from owning a piece of more than one team.

The speculation has been running rampant about possible suitors. Names like Michael Jordan, Oprah Winfrey, and Bill Murray have emerged. That won't happen. It seems it's down to three real possiblities: Don Levin - the owner of Chicago's most successful sports team, the Chicago Wolves, Mark Cuban - the owner of the Dallas Mavericks and IU graduate, and finally, University of Illinois graduate and former owner of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Phoenix Suns Jerry Colangelo.

Baseball being baseball, this won't necessarily come down to whom has the higest bid as evidenced by the sale of the Boston Red Sox a few years back. MLB will have a hand in the transaction and they'll approve any sale. Because of that, I'm putting my money on Jerry Colangelo. They say the "most exclusive club in America" is the United States Senate. I think those folks are wrong. That distinction goes to the owners of Major League Baseball teams. Colangelo is one of them....or at least he was.

This is going to come down to politics and working the other owners, in my opinion. The deals will be so close to each other, that the Tribune and MLB will look to a known commodity - and that's Colangelo. And don't think for a minute that Colangelo won't be playing the "minor league card" to anyone and everyone who will listen. He'll say Levin's background with the Wolves is Bush League and he's not "fit" for the Majors.

As for Cuban, I think the same reasons will eliminate him. The other owners dont' want to deal with him. Keep him in the NBA with David Stern, they'll say.

Now, Colangelo doesn't come without his own baggage. Sure he won a World Series with the Diamondbacks in 2001, just 3 years after organizing the club from the ground up. But since, they haven't been able to recover. According to some he put the club into such a financial canyon that they're still trying to dig out. He deferred a ton of payroll and had to raise some money all over again from investors. Some say that he won at all costs. Some think that's bad. I bet some Cubs fans in this town would love to see that approach here.

As a Sox guy, I don't really care who owns the team. I just hope they continue to disappoint.


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